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Niche or industry aside, there’s little doubt that your customers are the beating heart of your entire operation. To ensure that your customer-facing communications and efforts are constantly improving and evolving, investing in customer relationship management (CRM) is vital.
To win on today’s increasingly cutthroat digital battlefield, getting under the skin of your customers’ most pressing needs, behaviors, goals, and preferences while offering direct solutions to their biggest pain points will push you ten steps ahead of the competition. CRM software is the vessel that will get you there.
With a powerful dashboard maker, you can optimize every aspect of your customer relations across touchpoints to maximize your performance, boost your service levels, and, ultimately, grow your business.
To put the power of CRM software (or customer relationship management dashboard software) into a living, breathing, real-world perspective, we’ll explore CRM dashboards in more detail, starting with basic definitions of such dashboards and reports while considering how you can use CRM dashboard software to your business-boosting advantage.
Finally, we will show you a real-life example so you can get a visual overview and a clearer picture of the points discussed in this article.
What Is a CRM Dashboard?
A CRM dashboard is a centralized hub of information that presents customer relationship management data in a way that is dynamic, interactive, and offers access to a wealth of insights that can improve your consumer-facing strategies and communications.
Additionally, CRM dashboard tools provide access to insights that offer a concise snapshot of your customer-driven performance and activities through a range of features and functionalities empowered by online data visualization tools.
At its core, CRM dashboard software is a smart vessel for data analytics and business intelligence - digital innovation that hosts a wealth of insightful CRM reports. Let's look at its power in more detail.
What Is A CRM Report?
A CRM report is a management tool that unifies sales, marketing, and customer support data to strengthen your customer relationships. They exist inside CRM dashboards that connect your data in a way that will make your CRM analysis interactive, focused, and efficient.
A CRM report is the presentational aspect of customer relationship management. By working with visual key performance indicators (KPIs) and a mix of interactive charts and graphs, you can use a CRM dashboard to spot trends that will empower you to develop strategies that will build trust as well as brand loyalty on a sustainable basis.
Top Benefits of CRM Reporting
Now that we’ve looked at the fundamentals of CRM dashboards and reports let’s explore the business-boosting benefits of data-driven customer relationship management dashboards in more detail.
1. Better decision-making
CRM reporting tools will help you make quicker, more informed decisions based on robust, reliable visual data.
By being able to perform quality KPI tracking, you’ll transform information into insight in real-time. Improved decision-making will not only make you more adaptable to change but also streamline your customer service operations while reducing time as well as cost-draining inefficiencies.
2. Increased insight
CRM reporting software offers you in-depth insights based on historic, predictive, and “in the moment” data.
The digestible visual information served up by CRM dashboards will empower you to spot emerging trends, identify strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately, meet the needs of your customers head-on.
3. More engagement
One of the top benefits of CRM reporting is effective campaign tracking. When done correctly, it will enable you to compile relevant information related to your customer's behaviors and preferences in different touchpoints and understand if your marketing initiatives are effective.
By doing so, you can meet your customers where they are most engaged, and deliver messaging, offers, deals, discounts, suggestions, and solutions that are likely to result in increased customer loyalty as well as brand advocacy.
These types of conclusions can be reached with the help of attribution modeling. A practice that allows you to understand which campaign channel is more effective for your customers by tracking metrics like the last interaction, last non-direct click, and linear attribution, among others.
4. Consistent performance
CRM reporting allows you to set actionable benchmarks while monitoring your performance in various areas with pinpoint accuracy.
With the right CRM analysis report, you can keep building on your customer-facing activities consistently, improving your brand reputation while acquiring—and retaining—droves of new customers.
5. Maximum access & efficiency
As CRM reporting technologies are centralized (you can access a wealth of consumer-centric data from one platform) and accessible to everyone in the business, you will give your company the tools to win through the power of data analytics.
With CRM reports, you can give everyone in your customer service department the tools to improve their performance with data analytics. And when you do that, communication will improve, productivity will increase, and you will be able to benefit from the power of business intelligence (BI), 24/7.
6. Innovation impact
When using a CRM dashboard tool, you are fostering a culture of customer service innovation.
Many businesses make the mistake of seeing marketing and customer service as a series of clinical transactions. But if you can think outside the box, dazzle customers with your service, and develop messaging that offers real value, you will push yourself ahead of the pack. CRM reporting technologies will help you do just that.
“Data are just summaries of thousands of stories–tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful.” – Chip & Dan Heath
How to Create Quality CRM Reports?
Now that we have a basic understanding of these CRM analysis tools, it’s time to consider how to make them, alongside some basic steps to follow. Here, we delve into the best practices, approaches, and methods that will help you make your CRM dashboard tools work for your business.
1. Use professional CRM reporting tools
To build your initiatives on solid foundations and squeeze every last drop of value from your data-driven insights, working with the right BI reporting tools is essential. No exceptions, no compromises.
A dynamic KPI dashboard will form the very foundations of your reporting and analytics initiatives. When you’re looking at how to make them, it’s vital that you understand the importance of robust CRM reporting tools.
Professional CRM reporting technologies are interactive, customizable, and offer a wealth of potential when it comes to telling an effective story with your data.
From a customer relationship management perspective, CRM dashboard tools offer a wealth of invaluable data at a swift glance, making it tailormade for responsive decision-making.
Not only does a CRM reporting tool like datapine provide a priceless snapshot of key customer-facing information, but 24/7 access to data-driven insights across a choice of devices, including tablets and smartphones.
2. Align your goals and objectives
When using the right CRM reporting tools, you should start by taking a long, hard look at your business’s core customer-facing goals and objectives.
Do you want to build social media engagement? Are you looking to increase existing customer loyalty? Do you want to make your content marketing campaigns more focused or streamline your customer service expenditure? Think about what you want to do and why you want to do it.
Once you’ve aligned your consumer-based aims, goals, and objectives, you’ll be able to select the best KPIs for the job - visualizations that will breathe life into your CRM dashboard design.
To inspire your customer relationship management report for managing your metrics, explore our cutting-edge selection of KPI examples.
3. Consider your audience
When building any type of quality report, thinking about the audience is a fundamental step toward success. By generating them with their needs in mind, you will make sure that every user can extract the maximum potential from the reporting process. This is especially true when it comes to CRM, as this discipline includes several business departments and stakeholders that will need these reports for different purposes. Some of these key players include:
- Sales: The sales department uses CRM dashboards to monitor the business pipeline and prioritize the most relevant leads and opportunities. With the help of the right online data analysis tool, the team can track individual agents' performance, lead progress, as well as accurate sales forecasts.
- Marketing: The marketing portion of CRM covers all aspects related to lead generation. CRM reports for the marketing department should include metrics such as email clicks, lead sources, and campaign development. They use all this information to improve conversions.
- Customer Support: The support team can benefit from these tools by getting insights into the ticketing workflow. Their reports should include metrics such as the average ticket response time or how many tickets are currently in the pipeline. Like this, they can get a bigger picture of performance and ensure an excellent customer experience.
- C-Level Executives: Last but not least, c-level executives benefit from CRM reports by getting a 360-view of everything related to customer relationships. They don’t need to go into detail about every area we just mentioned above, but they need to get a sense of the current status, what's going well and what needs to be optimized.
4. Select the right data sources
In order to provide the needed insights required by all the players we mentioned above, you need to collect the right data. CRM analysis can be done with the help of various internal and external sources that can be merged all together with the help of modern technologies such as data connectors. Some of these sources include:
- Referral sources: This will let you understand where new customers learn about your offerings. Referrals can come from Facebook ads, an email, or Instagram posts, just to name a few.
- Past purchases: By looking at past purchases you can find various behavioral patterns in your target clients and use them to generate targeted experiences.
- Phone calls: Many businesses reach out to potential clients via phone calls. This information will tell you how many times a sales rep needs to call a lead that is likely to convert as well as find improvement opportunities to make it happen successfully.
- Marketing data: This can include social media as well as web analytics. It's the data that will help you optimize your marketing efforts by understanding what old and potential clients alike. This will help you offer personalized interactions.
These are just a few CRM database examples that you can use to generate reports. An important note here is to use automation tools that will handle the data so that it can be prepared for analysis. These tools will make sure any incorrect data is handled properly so it won’t interfere with the analysis.
5. Work through your narrative
You may remember us mentioning data storytelling earlier. The human brain responds best to storytelling, and the best CRM reports offer plenty of scopes to tell tales with your data.
A robust CRM dashboard template will allow you to customize your visualizations and design format to your audience’s aims, goals, and preferences. And if you focus on doing so in a way that will walk your users through a compelling, easy-to-follow narrative, you will squeeze every last drop of value from your customer relationship management report metrics.
Our practical guide to data visualization techniques will tell you everything you need to know about creating effective messages with your CRM dashboard sample data.
6. Design for dashboard success
Whether you’re looking at consumer management dashboards and reports, every CRM dashboard template you use should be optimal in terms of design.
When we say “optimal design,” we don’t mean cramming piles of information into one space or being overly experimental with colors. No, we mean developing a logical format based on proven dashboard design principles.
When designing a sales CRM dashboard - or any other form of customer relationship report - you should keep your core objectives in mind, working methodically to paint a picture that is accessible to every user at a glance.
To help navigate your dashboard design efforts, here are some best practices for reporting success:
- Ensure your visuals and data are arranged in a way that is both logical and scannable. Put yourself in the shoes of the universal user and arrange your CRM dashboard in a way that makes it as easy as possible to extract information and take action.
- Don’t use more than three colors on any of your CRM report samples, as this will only overwhelm the eye and detract from the information on the page.
- When it comes to CRM report examples, use a balanced mix of historical, predictive, and real-time insights on page to offer value. Bias towards one specific set of metrics will make your report shallow and hinder the overall design.
- Use white space where you can and double up your margins if possible.
For a full rundown of dashboard design tips and more, explore our full guide on how to create a dashboard.
7. Explore different types of CRM reports
There are several areas in which your business can benefit from smart CRM reports. Let’s take a quick look at the six primary types of CRM reports available in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected business world.
- Profitability & revenue reports A dashboard-based report that offers a detailed breakdown of sales KPIs such as your primary sources of income on a consumer level. Tracking this type of report will give you a clear indication of where you should focus your sales and marketing efforts.
- Pipeline reports: These types are particularly effective as they will help you track your leads as they progress through your sales pipeline. Working with pipeline reports will empower you to streamline your sales processes while enhancing your customer communications.
- Sales conversion reports: This branch of CRM reporting is essential to sales and marketing teams across industries as it breaks down your conversion data to offer an insight into your lead sources as well as the quality of your leads or prospects.
- Sales cycle CRM reports: These reporting tools are effective as they provide all of the visual data you need to optimize your sales cycle at every stage and touchpoint for maximum efficiency and ROI.
- Goal benchmarking reports: Goal-centric CRM-style reports provide a detailed snapshot of how various strategies and activities are performing in conjunction with predetermined benchmarks - offering essential insights designed to spot organizational strengths and weaknesses.
- Marketing ROI reporting: A vital tool for marketing BI analytics. ROI-based reports provide a deep-dive insight into how effective your promotional activities are while offering a clear breakdown of revenue sources according to channel or campaign.
8. Benefit from predictions
Predictive analytics is a technology that provides accurate forecasting of future performance by analyzing current and historical data. This allows employees to prepare for possible outcomes and take advantage of any potential opportunities. For all of these reasons, including forecasts in your CRM dashboards is a must. For instance, financial forecasting allows companies to predict future revenues and expenses. On the other hand, sales forecasting can help the sales team predict future revenue growth and adjust their pipeline estimates based on lead confidence. We will see this feature in practice with one of our CRM templates below.
9. Educate, inspire, empower
When investing in data analytics tools, many businesses overlook the importance of informational accessibility. Even the best CRM dashboards will only do so much if a small handful of people within the organization are using them.
That said, when you’re setting up a CRM dashboard, you should always consider how various people within customer service, sales, and marketing can benefit.
By giving the right permissions to the right people and running role-specific workshops on how to get the best from the CRM report in question, you will maximize the value of your reporting tools. In turn, you will accelerate the growth of your business.
10. Test, tweak, evolve
If you’ve examined a varied mix of CRM report samples and CRM dashboard examples and followed all of our customer relationship report-building advice, it’s likely that you’re reaping all of the benefits of CRM reporting
However, we live in a digital age, where tools, technology, and outlooks are changing constantly. When asking yourself the question “what is CRM reporting?”, it’s always important to remember that the answer lies in continual evolution.
While your reports may offer all the benefits of a CRM report today, they could prove far less effective next year. The point is, that your CRM report activities should remain active at all times.
Take the time to analyze, explore, test your CRM reports samples, and ask for regular feedback. Doing so will ensure you make tweaks, edits, and upgrades that will offer you the very best insights into an ever-evolving, cutthroat commercial landscape.
Real-world CRM Dashboard Examples
Now that you understand the key elements of creating successful CRM reports, we’re going to look at four cutting-edge CRM dashboard examples.
CRMs are more than customer service monitoring tools alone. By using the right data dashboard for your specific goals, aims, and needs, you will get a panoramic view of your sales, marketing, customer service, HR, finance, and procurement departments. In turn, you will gain a deep-dive insight into how your entire organization works cohesively to benefit your customers.
These are the main areas of the business that can benefit from a robust CRM KPI dashboard. While offering operational as well as behavioral insight into a wealth of different customer-facing departments and functions, it’s also possible to split CRM analytics into operational, analytical, and strategic, depending on what you’re trying to achieve with your dashboard.
To put these ideas into perspective, let’s look at our four real-world CRM analytics examples generated with a modern dashboard creator:
CRM KPI Dashboard
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- Lead Response Time
- Follow-Up Contact Rate
- Sales Activity
- Average Contract Value
- Average Sales Cycle Length
Our first CRM dashboard example is armed with a perfect storm of KPIs - visual metrics designed to improve prospect lead times, follow-up response rates, sales cycle lengths, contract values, and core sales activities.
Presented in a balanced and logical format, sales reps and managers can make swift decisions to engage prospects across channels while developing strategies to boost conversions, drive down operational inefficiencies, and ultimately, boost revenue.
By adding this CRM dashboard template to the mix, you will optimize your sales, and, in turn, your customer service as well as marketing departments for ongoing growth, evolution, and success.
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- Sales Target & Growth
- Website-Traffic-to-Lead Ratio
- Cost per Lead
- Lead-to-MQL Ratio
- MQL-to-SQL Ratio
Our next CRM dashboard is a perfect use-case example for B2B SaaS businesses for which good CRM management is especially important. The CMO dashboard is equipped with a solid mix of high-level metrics suited for busy chief marketing officers looking to make a real impact.
A demanding role that requires an endless amount of organizational juggling, there is little time for CMOs to research and analyze low-level data and insights. Designed to streamline the decision-making process while facilitating innovative growth strategies, this cutting-edge CRM dashboard template will offer a healthy return on marketing investment (ROMI) while enhancing your customer-facing communications.
Moreover, with advanced KPIs including the cost per lead, per MQL, per SQL, and customer, all based on a target, you will be able to reduce unnecessary costs while providing the value of your various strategies and initiatives.
CRM Opportunity Dashboard
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- Number of Sales Opportunities
- Sales Opportunity Score
- Average Purchase Value
As you no doubt know, sales and customer service are intertwined. By improving your approach to sales and consumer marketing, you will strengthen your frontline service - and this CRM dashboard template will help you do just that.
Our CRM Opportunity dashboard is built to help your sales reps hone in on emerging leads and take the right course of action. KPIs including sales opportunity score, number of sales opportunities, and average purchase value work harmoniously to form a tapestry of visual information that not only helps prioritize sales opportunities but guides users towards the strategy or touchpoint they should focus on to close more sales.
By getting your timing, strategy, and communications just right, you will manage your customer relationships more effectively, which will lead to increased revenue and a better bottom line. This CRM report example will get you there.
CRM Pipeline Dashboard
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- Annual Contractual Value (ACV)
- Open Pipeline Value
- Open Pipeline by Product Package
- Pipeline Value Forecast
Our next and final CRM template is a sales pipeline dashboard. A pipeline overview is arguably one of the most important elements that any customer relationship management dashboard should include. In this case, we see a complex open pipeline ideal for a B2B business. We say it is complex as it has various stages and, instead of showing the number of potential clients at each stage, it outlines the monetary value of converting each of them. Paired with this information, the open pipeline is then broken down by product package, meaning the value of potential customers interested in each package. The insights extracted from here can tell the sales team where to focus their efforts.
The bottom portion of the dashboard provides again information about the open pipeline for the past 12 months with a 3-month forecast at the end. As mentioned before in the post, forecasting is fundamental when it comes to successful CRM analysis as it allows you to prepare in advance for any trends that might come. Finally, we get a chart displaying the top 5 sales opportunities with insights into the best and worst-case scenarios, probability of closing the deal, sales stage, and rep in charge. The probability score is based on which stage the deal is at, the lowest they are in the funnel, the most likely they are to convert.
What Should Be Included In A CRM Report?
So far, we’ve mentioned a list of templates, benefits, and key steps to follow in order to achieve a successful CRM reporting process. While you might have a clear understanding of it by this point, we can’t finish this post without summing up the key elements that should be included in any CRM report worth it's salt.
- Sales Pipeline: A CRM report should provide a detailed overview of the progress of all current deals and the stages in which they currently lie. It should provide insights into deals in progress, urgent ones that need to be closed promptly, and even the ones that didn’t work so the team can learn from them.
- General and individual sales rep performance: Depending on the size of the company, your sales team will go through various calls, emails, or general communications with potential customers on a daily basis. In order to make the most of this process, it is necessary to track general and individual performance. This will allow you to identify weak points to improve and ensure your leads turn into clients.
- Marketing performance: Your promotional efforts will directly influence the number of prospective clients the organization gets. For this reason, including an overview of marketing performance in your reports is fundamental for understanding what is working and what could be improved to ensure the company is receiving a fair ROI from its marketing efforts.
- KPIs: Arguably the most important component, KPIs allow you to measure your progress towards general business goals. They allow you to pinpoint the most important areas to focus on to avoid wasting time shooting in the dark. As mentioned, CRM encompasses various areas such as sales, marketing, and customer support, and a good report should provide KPIs that attain to them.
- Interactive features: While this is not a particular section as the ones we just mentioned, it is a fundamental feature that will allow users to extract the maximum potential out of the data. Interactive dashboard features allow you to navigate your reports with the use of filters. This way, you can find the answers to critical questions without the need to switch from one dashboard to the other, you get everything you need in a centralized location.
Final Thoughts On CRM Reports
We’ve answered the question, “what is a CRM report?”, delved deeper into CRM report and CRM dashboard examples, and run through how to create your own customer-centric reports. One thing is clear: data-driven dashboard analytics is the path to consumer-driven success.
If you’re looking to streamline your customer-centric processes, deliver a razor-sharp service that meets your audiences’ exact needs, and become truly innovative, CRM reporting tools are the way forward - there’s no competition.
By focusing on your customers and delivering invaluable campaigns, communications, and services aimed at the direct needs of your audience, you will get an all-important edge on the competition. Additionally, if you want to drill down deeper into your sales data, read our definitive guide on salesforce reporting.
Now it's your turn to embrace the power of data-driven dashboards by taking advantage of our 14-day free trial, completely free.